Agrisoma Biosciences, an agricultural company that has commercialized carinata, a non-food oilseed crop designed for sustainable production of biofuels, has closed a $15.4-million Series B financing round, co-led by new investor Groupe Lune Rouge and current investors Cycle Capital Management, and BDC Venture Capital. This Series B round is used to support the global expansion of Agrisoma’s business.
Like other oilseed crops, such as canola, soybean and corn, carinata oil is extracted when the harvested seed is crushed. Unlike those crops, carinata is not meant for human food consumption; the oil it produces is intended for industrial use, mainly in the production of bio- and jet-fuels.
The carinata plant is extremely tolerant of heat, cold, drought and disease; carinata also fits seamlessly into existing agricultural systems as it requires no special production or processing equipment and methods. As a cover crop, it can rejuvenate soils and protect them from erosion. After processing, the only thing left over is protein—the remains of the crushed seeds—which is a source of dietary protein for animal production.
Resonance brand carinata oil is a long chain, mono-unsaturated oil that can be used in a variety of biofuel products:
Renewable diesel: Carinata oil can be used in second-generation biofuels, where hydro-treating processes, such as those used in traditional refining are used to process Carinata oil. The resultant fuel is petroleum-equivalent, drop-in fuel that can be used without blending limitations. Hydro-treated products, commonly referred to as HVO, or HRD fuels include diesel and jet fuel equivalent fuels.
First Generation Biodiesel (FAME): Because it’s very low in saturated fats, lower than even canola, Resonance brand carinata oil has a low cloud point—i.e., it is less likely to form crystals that cloud the fuel and lead to filter plugging in colder climates.
Biojet Fuel (HEFA): With a 40% erucic acid content (a long chain monounsaturated fatty acid), Resonance brand carinata offers manufacturers more efficient conversion into biojet fuel with reduced amounts of secondary products (such as LPG and naphtha) compared to other industrial oilseeds, such as Camelina, Jatropha and Castor.
Green chemistry: The long-chain fatty acids in Resonance brand carinata oil are suited for many other industrial applications, such as high performance lubricants and polymer coatings.
The company has developed and controls the world’s largest collection of carinata genetic material. The company also has proprietary breeding, tissue culture and molecular mapping technology we use to make continuous improvements in yield, oil content, and other agronomic improvements. The company creates and tests more than 10,000 new carinata lines every year, and has a process to rapidly identify key crop improvements in single breeding cycles.
Agrisoma adapts its carinata varieties, sold under the Resonance brand, to each production region. Current varieties are open-pollinated lines that are regionally selected.
This funding is enabling us to further the expansion of our business to international markets for our sustainable crop Carinata. The Series B funding was used to develop and execute our new commercial programs in South America, as well as to initiate deliveries of commercial scale volumes of Carinata feedstock to new customers around the world. The funding was also used to develop key markets for the nonGMO, sustainable animal feed co-product, positioning the Carinata business for rapid expansion and scaling of production servicing both the biofuels industry and the growing demand for sustainably produced protein in the animal feed industry. The addition of new shareholder expertise with a focus on sustainability, the environment and global business experience, along with additional support from current shareholders highlights our opportunity and progress with the commercialization of Carinata.—Steven Fabijanski, Agrisoma President and CEO
Elizabeth-France Marillia, Tammy Francis, Kevin C. Falk, Mark Smith, David C. Taylor (20140 “Palliser’s promise: Brassica carinata, An emerging western Canadian crop for delivery of new bio-industrial oil feedstocks,” Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 65-74 doi: 10.1016/j.bcab.2013.09.012
Xianhui Zhao, Lin Wei, Shouyun Cheng, Yuhe Cao, James Julson, Zhengrong Gu (2015) “Catalytic cracking of carinata oil for hydrocarbon biofuel over fresh and regenerated Zn/Na-ZSM-5,” Applied Catalysis A: General, Volume 507, Pages 44-55 doi: 10.1016/j.apcata.2015.09.031